Nigeriaa��s 2019 election our priority a�� US

By John Okeke with agency reports
The United States government has said that the 2019 general elections and a peaceful transition are the priorities of the Donald Trump administration because of Nigeriaa��s strategic position in Africa.
The US Secretary of State, Rex Tillerson, spoke on Washingtona��s position during a background briefing on his first trip to Africa,
According to the News Agency of Nigeria, Tillerson would meet with President Muhammadu Buhari and other top government functionaries, and also leaders of Chad, Djibouti, Ethiopia and Kenya during his travels from today till March 13, 2018
The State Department said that over two decades ago, the number of countries in Africa with really democratically-elected government was a few.
It said, however, a�?now we have over two dozen African countries with democratically-elected governments and which are hopefully not going to have transitions in government through coup da��A�tat and other illegal methods.
a�?As we look at the elections, although Nigeriaa��s is not this year, that really is a major priority focus, because thata��s going to be the third most populous country in the world by 2050.
a�?It has very complex political issues and ethnic, tribal and security issues. And thata��s an area that we really are focusing on how to do a peaceful democratic transition, but more important is how to hold governments accountable to the people,a�? the State Department said.
It explained that although a lot of those African countries were still fragile democracies, the US was trying to strengthen them.
The US commended the most recent elections in Liberia, saying it was the first open, fair, and peaceful transition of governments in over 75 years.
It regretted what it called the a�?horrendous rule of Charles Taylor and the degradation of the institutions there, but now, I think with the election of George Weah therea��s going to be a positive thinga�?.
Washington also noted the election of Nana Akufo-Addo in Ghana, Alassane Ouattara in Cote da��Ivoire and Macky Sall in Senegal, describing them as positive developments.
It said, however, that Ethiopia remained a challenge for the US and a focus for it.
The State Department explained that it was looking at trying to build institutions, strengthen institutions, and also have peaceful transitions and hold governments accountable to the people in Ethiopia.
It said that it was also looking at how to have reconciliation and dialogue between all of the different groups a�� the Oromos, the Amharas, the Tigrays, and also in Kenya with the opposition and with the ruling government.
Accordingly, the State Department said that building strong institutions and holding governments accountable are some of the things that are going to be the subjects of discussion during Tillersona��s trip.
a�?How do we advance political and economic reform that will help in the transition process? Those are issues too that wea��re working in Zimbabwe with the transition between Robert Mugabe and Emmerson Mnangagwa.
a�?And also wea��re looking hopefully at South Africa with the takeover of Cyril Ramaphosa from Jacob Zuma and seeing how thata��s going to transit,a�? the State Department said.

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